It's eighth grade Langueage Arts class, and the announcement has just been made that we are writing a research paper. After the the initial groaning and complaining from the class are over, it's time to pick our topics. The teacher has a list to choose from, including a few that she calls "higher level thinking." Those are the persuasive topics, where you can share your opinion, and I know I want of those. But which one?
The teacher is going through her list, sharing what each subject includes. When we get to stem cell research, most of the class has no idea what that is. As she explains that there is conflict concerning the use of aborted babies' cells, tears come to my eyes and I almost start bawling right there in class. I know it's God getting my attention. Father, what are you trying to tell me? I pray silently, and then the answer comes.
I know in my heart exactly what I'm supposed to do, but I try to convince myself that I don't really have to do that, that God knows that's too hard for me. God, you've given me a strong passion to end this, but is this really what you want me to do? I struggle within myself the whole time the rest of the class is choosing their research topics, until finally my turn comes. I take a deep, shaky breath. "Can I talk to you after class?"
The bell finally rings, ending 3rd hour, and I approach the teacher at her desk. "Well," I begin, "I'm not sure how you would feel about this, but stem cell research was on your list, so...." "Oh, no. You're not going to say what I think you're going to say are you?" My teacher interrupts with a sigh. "Yes, I think I am," I reply, gaining confidence the more I talk. "Are sure there's nothing else you could write about? Would your parents be OK with this?" She seems to be trying hard to change my mind, but I know now what I have to do. "I'm sure they will be fine with it, and I want to write this paper. I feel very strongly about abortion, but I will present both sides of the story, and I'll be careful to keep it appropriate." My teacher finally agrees with, "Well, if that's really what you want to do, I trust you to do a good job of it." The deal is sealed.
We work on our papers for more than a whole quarter, with me gone for a week. I work especially hard to make my paper the best it could possibly be. There is a lot a research to sort through. My parents are very supportive, and extremely helpful through this whole process. I want to vary my sources, but only use the most reliable. I want my paper to be full of good information, but not overwhelmingly long and boring. I want to expose both pro-life and pro-choice arguments, but make sure the truth is known. I am determined to impress my teacher after she was so reluctant to give me this project. Even more so, I desire to please God, since this was His idea in the first place.
My job is almost complete. My teacher is editing my second draft, and this is when I find out that whoever wants to can present their paper to the class for ten extra. I don't need the extra credit, and I am telling myself that I don't have to do that, but at the same time I feel an urge to take the extra step.
I tell my mom about it that night. "Do you know what you're going to do?" "Not really," I say, sounding unsure of myself. I am scared of what people will think. "Oh. Really..." Mom's tone tells me she knows I'll read my paper to the class.
I am stressing way to much over this decision, and I turn to God. Has He ever told you to shut up? I learn that's what happens when you won't listen. He tells me to be courageous, that if I share the truth, and live the truth, others will follow. God asks me, "Why did you think I wanted you to write this paper in the first place?" "OK, God, I get the picture. I'll present the paper."
Now it's the last day of the semester, and I am the 3rd person to read their paper to the class. I feel confident, but I'm shaking at the same time. I go to the front and present my paper. I can tell I'm nervous because I stumble several times, and normally I am a very good reader. I cast a few glances towards the class, but never make eye contact. I am bolder for the last paragraph, my voice becoming stronger as I present my opinion about the horror of abortion. I return to my seat amidst the claps and "Good job!"s of my classmates. Several tell me my teacher was wiping tears from her eyes as she listened. "She was? Wow." I smile, but send a quick prayer heavenward for my teacher. I thank God for how well it went, and for using me even through my fear. I pray that He will use the words of my paper to show my peers the truth about abortion, and to change hearts. I know He can do it.
This what really happened. The whole thing was God's idea, and He carried it out. I don't know why I ever doubted Him.
If you want to read the actual paper - apparently it's pretty good ;) - leave a comment and I will post it on here as soon as possible.